Vanderbilt Tops Louisville in Overtime 73-68 11-29-03
Vanderbilt had to work overtime for the second time this year in just four games, but managed to hold off a tough Louisville squad 73-68 to pick up its 13th consecutive Vanderbilt Tournament title.
Senior Jenni Benningfield was named tourney Most Valuable Player after a 34-point, career-high performance, including a lay-up with just 5.1 seconds to go in regulation to force overtime. Her 34 points moves her past former Commodores Ashley McElhiney and Jillian Danker (both in attendance tonight) for 17th on the career points list with 1,146. Vanderbilt improved its mark to 4-0 this season in front of a rowdy Memorial Gym crowd of 1,273.
Benningfield, from Louisville, Ky., scored seven of Vanderbilt’s first nine points to establish her dominance immediately. However, the Cardinals answered back under the leadership of freshman forward Jazz Covington, who had 15 points and four rebounds in the first half. Covington finished with 27 points, six rebounds, and a perfect five-for-five from the charity stripe to lead the Red, Black and White. Cardinal guard Sara Nord would pitch in with two three-point buckets in two minutes. She finished with 11 points and was one of three Cardinals in double figures. Her efforts ensured that Louisville’s three-point streak continued; it now stands at 356 straight games.
Louisville would go on to lead by as many as nine before Vanderbilt answered back with a 12-0 run covering 4:06 late in the first half. Benningfield had nine points in the run, sparked in large part by four critical Cardinal turnovers. Vanderbilt went into halftime leading 33-31.
The second half became a shootout with Covington, Benningfield, and Commodore forward Hillary Hager leading the charge. There were five ties and six lead changes throughout the final 20 minutes of play. Benningfield battled inside where the Commodores outscored Louisville in the paint 36-24. Hager hit all 17 of her points after halftime and nailed five three pointers, including a crucial one to pull Vanderbilt to within two at 2:30 to go in the game, tying a career high.
The next outing for the Commodores will be this Thursday, December 4, against New Orleans at Memorial Gym. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 P.M. Central Time.
– VU –
Princeton Defeats Samford 84-58 in Consolation Game
Princeton took advantage of 18 Bulldog turnovers and shot 52% for the afternoon to defeat Samford 84-58 in the consolation game at the Vanderbilt Tournament in Nashville, Tenn.
Both teams came out of the locker room ready to play as Princeton raced to a quick 13-11 advantage with 14:12 showing on the first half clock. A long three-pointer by Bulldog guard Sarah Clement gave Samford back the lead at 15-14. The teams remained close throughout the next seven minutes of the foul-filled opening stanza, trading the advantage back and forth until a Lindsey Harris three for Samford put the Bulldogs up 28-24. Princeton drew back in front by one point with 5:49 left at 29-28 and held a 40-36 lead after a jumper by Kelli Hughes. A three-pointer by Katy O’Brien gave the Tigers a 43-36 lead into the halftime break. The two squads exchanged the lead 16 times over the initial 20 minutes of action, while combining for 23 personal fouls.
Princeton stretched its advantage to 14 out of the break following an O’Brien deuce and two free throws to take a 50-36 lead. A trey by the Tigers’ Elyse Umeda pushed Princeton in front by 18 with approximately 15 minutes remaining and another triple, this one by Katy Digovich, gave the Tigers firm control at 58-37. Princeton cruised down the stretch leading 76-49 with about five minutes left before settling for a 26-point win.
Princeton vs. Samford
Princeton Head Coach Richard Barron
On Sophomore Becky Brown:
On Freshman Casey Lockwood:
Princeton Forward and Nashville Native Becky Brown
Samford vs. Princeton Vanderbilt Tournament Consolation Game
Coach Mike Morris
“This was by far our worst effort of the season. Princeton had a lot to do with that, because they are a very good team and played very well. We didn’t have the energy and effort to match theirs today.”
Sophomore Guard Chelsee Insell
“We came out and didn’t have a lot of energy and they did. They made shots early and we never caught up.”